Top 10 Extreme Water Sports You’ve Never Heard of

Most people could name a few water sports off the top of their head. Swimming, diving, and even water polo are now widespread and familiar sports worldwide. But many other water sports are so obscure that you will hardly believe that they exist. In this article, we have listed ten of the most extreme water sports you’ve never heard of.

Before reading, keep in mind that these sports can be hazardous to those who play them. Some sports on this list are hybrid versions of other sports with an added aquatic element. Other sports are not much more than the imaginings of daring thrill-seekers. Remember to use caution before trying any of these extreme water sports. 

Top 10 Extreme Water Sports You’ve Never Heard Of

From indoor windsurfing to underwater rugby, these water sports aren’t for the faint of heart.

1. Indoor Windsurfing

If you have ever seen windsurfing, then you know that it can be an extreme sport. But you may not have known that windsurfers have taken their favorite sport indoors. 

The first limitation of indoor windsurfing is obvious. There is no wind inside a building. However, indoor windsurfers have found a way to work around this. 

In an indoor windsurfing race, a series of large fans line the edge of a pool. Racers use the current created by the fans to steer their vessels through the pool. 

The indoor aspect of this sport allows for a crowd to gather and watch the race. Often, the athletic component of indoor windsurfing accompanies other forms of entertainment that make indoor windsurfing a true show for the audience

2. Barefoot Skiing

If you thought that waterskiing looked like a difficult task, wait until you hear what is involved with barefoot skiing. Barefoot skiing is an extreme water sport that takes place at high speeds. 

You might have guessed by now that barefoot skiing is a barefoot version of waterskiing. While it seems like removing the skis from water skiing would make this sport impossible, that is not the case.

Actually, those who do barefoot skiing can reach much higher speeds. In most cases, this extra speed is needed to keep the skier upright.

As with traditional water skiing, a boat pulls barefoot skiers who hold onto a rope. Competitions include jumps, tricks, and slalom style races. 

3. Waterfall Rappelling 

For those who want a thrill, waterfall rappelling is the extreme water sport of choice. But be wary of taking up waterfall rappelling as a hobby as it has many built-in dangers.

It is typical for rock climbers to rappel down a cliffside. Waterfall rappellers take this activity to the next level by rappelling down flowing waterfalls.

Of course, there is always a significant risk of falling when you practice this sport. An equipment failure could cause serious injuries or death. The fact that waterfall rappellers are surrounded by flowing water only increases that risk.

Waterfall rappelling is not a common sport. Most often, it is an activity for adventurers looking for a thrill. But in recent years, there have been some efforts to transform this into a regulated sport. 

4. Underwater Rugby

If you expect underwater rugby to be anything like regular rugby, you would be mistaken. Despite sharing the name, underwater rugby’s rules bear little resemblance to the traditional version of rugby.

The goal of underwater rugby is more like the goal of soccer. Two teams attempt to score by getting a ball into an underwater goal. 

The ball used in underwater rugby is filled with salt water, which gives it a negative buoyancy. At no point in the game is the ball allowed to emerge through the surface of the water.

The origin of underwater rugby dates back to the mid-twentieth century. A group of diving enthusiasts in Germany were the first to devise the game. 

5. Kayak Polo

In kayak polo, two teams fight for control of a ball and try to score by throwing the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Many of the strategies that kayak polo players use come from more typical sports like soccer and basketball. 

Like basketball, there are five active players on each team in a game of kayak polo. Unlike basketball, kayak polo is a contact sport. 

When one player has the ball, opposing players will try to disrupt them. Those attempting to get the ball may shove or ram their kayak into the ball carrier.

Kayak polo is sometimes called canoe polo. In either case, players use their paddles to steer their kayaks and block shots from opposing players. 

6. Sup Racing and Sup Racing Technical

SUP stands for stand up paddleboarding. You may have seen people doing stand up paddleboarding for fun in the ocean. But the sport version of sup racing is far more difficult.

Sup racing turns this activity into an intense race. Races can take place on the ocean, in rivers, or on lakes. In any setting, racers have to face the challenge of picking up speed while maintaining their balance.

There are multiple versions of sup racing. The basic versions are simple point-to-point races of varying distances.

Conversely, sup technical racing includes more complex navigation. Much like with skiing, sup technical racers must weave through a series of obstacles in the water to reach the finish line. 

7. Water Basketball

It is no surprise to find that water basketball is just an aquatic version of regular basketball. However, the presence of water can change the nature of the game dramatically. 

In water basketball, teams of five pass the ball to one another and attempt to score in the opposing team’s hoop. The hoop often looks a lot like a standard basketball hoop. In other cases, the hoop may have no backboard. 

There is a wide variety of rules for water basketball. The reason for such discrepancies is that there is no international association that dictates the official rules of the game.

Instead, the specific rules of a water basketball game will depend on where the game takes place. Though it originated in Tasmania, different manifestations of water basketball have emerged in many countries. 

8. Bog Snorkeling

Snorkeling is a fun beach activity for people of all ages. But in some settings, it proves to be a highly competitive sport as well. 

Bog snorkeling is essentially a race through a trough in a peat bog. Racers must swim out and back over a distance of 60 yards. 

During the race, competitors wear typical snorkeling gear. This usually includes goggles, a snorkel, and flippers. While this gear helps competitors see and breathe, there is another rule in this sport that makes it very difficult. 

During the race, the contestants are not allowed to use the swimming strokes that most people are familiar with. Instead, they must rely on their flippers alone to complete the course in the shortest possible time. 

9. Flowboarding

Flowboarding, sometimes called flow riding, is a synthetic version of surfing. One of the main issues of surfing competitions is that surfers must wait for the optimal wave. The creators of flowboarding decided to take matters into their own hands to solve this. 

Rather than surf in the ocean, flowboarders compete in a controlled flow of water. Through propulsion equipment, the water flows up an inclined surface. 

The athlete starts at the top of the incline and surfs on the constantly flowing water. There are now competitions around the world where representatives from different countries compete. 

Despite the potential for competition, flowboarding is often a recreational sport. Flowboarders can use anything from a surfboard to a bodyboard to enjoy the man-made waves. Flowboarding is especially common as a cruise ship activity. 

10. Sport Diving

Sport diving takes place in a swimming pool and uses standard scuba diving gear. The sport originated in Spain, where it first began at the end of the 1990s

The developers of sport diving had specific goals in mind as they created the sport. Mainly, sport diving aims to bring greater awareness to scuba diving and improve scuba diving techniques. 

During a competition, judges give scores to each athlete in the contest. Scores are based on the quality of the contestant’s technique to complete specific scuba diving tasks.

There are several different events within sport diving, and each comes with a unique set of rules and objectives. These include both individual and team events. 

A Few Other Extreme Water Sports Worthy Of Mention

The list of extreme water sports does not end there. As people are continually searching for new thrills and competitions, new extreme water sports continue to arise. Here are a few additional extreme water sports that did not make it onto the top ten list:

  • Cave Diving
  • Water Skating
  • Flyboarding

(You might also be interested in knowing about the Most Immersive Underwater Games)

Wrap-Up

People never fail to come up with fun ways to pass the time. Extreme water sports are just another example of ways that sportspeople have found to compete with one another. 

The sports can be very risky to partake in and often combine elements of other more common sports. You now know at least ten of the most obscure extreme water sports. But at this rate, the number of sports in that category is sure to continue growing. 

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